Monday, August 24, 2009

Independence days- week 17

I'm tired- and I hate mice! Those have been my mantras this week. I'm in mid canning this evening. I've got another 5 quarts of tomato sauce to can tonight when the current load comes out of the canner. It will be a late evening, but it needs done. It's been a busy week, with school starting, vacation coverage at work, sorting out the new schedules and all. But with all the chaos and disappointments, it has been a productive week- one I can feel good about.
Here's the weekly update- as much for my benefit as just reporting in.
1. Plant something- no. I had really hoped for some fall crops but I think I'm going to let it go this year. There is just too much going on in my life right now.
2. Harvest something- Tomatoes, beans, sweet corn, peppers, potatoes, a few wild plums, still a bit of chard and our first apple off the tree!
3. Preserve something- Tomato sauce (10 quarts, 4 pints) and salsa (4 pints). I hope to pick some peppers to freeze tomorrow night but that will be for next week's list.
4. Reduce waste-The usual, recycled, composted and used cloth bags at the store. With tomato production up, I've been adding lots to the compost pile lately.
5. Prep and storage- 10 pounds of rice for storage, 5 extra pounds of flour and found a case of pint jars- not as cheaply as I would have liked but not too bad.
6. Community food systems- Stopped at a farm stand for cucumbers again. Also, with pork prices falling, V and I have been discussing trying to purchase some pork from the farmer we purchased our beef from in January. We currently have room in the freezer- or we have talked about getting a second, smaller freezer for meat. We'll have to see.
Also, loosely related to this category- J15 and her English 10 honors class got into a discussion of sustainable agriculture this afternoon. It seems that the first book they are reading is "Of Mice and Men" and her teacher is evidently quite interested in sustainable agriculture and the 'green' way of life. Her teacher was excited to learn that J15 is learning food preservation/preparation skills. I'm excited because it got J all fired up and she was helping me can sauce this evening- absorbing everything she saw and asking lots of questions. She got to load her first jar into the canner and was then doing this cute little dance, jumping up and down talking about feeling empowered. Wow!
7. Eat the food- This is the easy part this time of year. There are lots of yummy things to be had: corn on the cob, boiled new potatoes, tomatoes, green beans, stuffed chilis... the list goes on.

Ok, I'm back- did you miss me? The last jars are in the canner for the evening. I've still got about 2 quarts of sauce left but I'm not going to heat up enough water to cover just 2 jars. So, it will go into the fridge. I'll reheat it next time- the way things are going, probably Wednesday or Thursday night. Hurrah! We're getting tomatoes this year. Last year we had a disastrous year and I hardly got any tomatoes canned at all. We barely had enough to eat. So I'm hoping to make up for the deficit. We're fortunate that the year before I had canned over 40 quarts of sauce and it lasted for part of this year as well, and my Mom gave me 24 quarts of whole tomatoes last fall. I'm at 15 quarts with the batch that's in the canner now. I'd like to get at least 30 quarts this year, if not more. We'll see how it goes from here out.


  1. Listing things out is often the best way to see that things *are* getting done :-) All your tomato canning, wow. Congrats too to J15 - having that skill is uncommon, and neat that her teacher is discussing it in the classroom.

  2. It's great that your daughter is interested in canning. So many kids nowadays don't want to have anything to do with it. You can be really proud of her, and of the great job you've obviously done in raising her. And jealousy jealousy on my part for all your tomatoes.

  3. I admire all the canning you do and find it really great that your daughter's teacher has inspired her to help you with your canning! That is wonderful for sure! I have never canned in my life. Of course I've never had a large garden either. Just my 2 potted tomatoes. Next year they are going in the ground. One got too water logged. lol. Enjoyed your post as usual...debbie

  4. Great and funny comment about J doing the canning dance. Yea for empowered women!

  5. So lovely to read about your daughters teacher, and your daughters interest in food preservation. All good for the future I think.

    I think you have made the right choice to let Fall crops go this year with all else you have going on. Sometimes we just need to give ourselves a break, and of course............there is always next year! :)


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